Tragedy at Sochi: The games are already hijacked
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The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia haven't even begun, but they're getting a lot of publicity, for all the wrong reasons. NBC is gearing up to provide intense coverage of the games and more, if needed.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attention placed on the pending Sochi Olympics should rightfully belong to the athletes who have trained so hard to qualify, but it's anywhere but on them. Instead, the focus is on Russia's anti-homosexual propaganda laws and the threat of terrorism.
Some of the gay community in the U.S. has pledged to boycott watching the games, while others are wondering what will happen if the gays in Sochi try to make a statement, flaunting Russian laws.
Perhaps more ominously, last week's terrorist attacks have people ready to tune in to see if an attack occurs.
"I think we all know as we head to Sochi that we are in for an interesting ride," NBC anchor Matt Lauer said on-air Tuesday afternoon. "There are a lot of groups that would like to take advantage of the Olympics to make a point, whether it is a positive point or a negative point, so we go there with our eyes wide open."
The Olympic games are supposed to be about the athletes, and serve as an exhibition of athletic perfection from around the world. Unfortunately, since their inception, nations and groups have tried to hijack the games for their own agendas.
Each nation that hosts the games, demonstrates its nationalistic pride. In the 1930s, Nazi Germany wanted to demonstrate its superiority by putting on a spectacle that was to culminate in the defeat of black American athletes. That attempt failed. However, in the 1980s, both the United States and Russia boycotted one another's games to make a political statement. These boycotts badly cost the athletes themselves who trained so hard for the games in the prime of their youth.
In the 1972 Munich Games, terrorists took hostages and killed Israeli athletes, causing the games to be suspended.
According to ancient tradition, all the nations of the world are supposed to respect a common truce during the games, ceasing any fighting they may have on the battlefield for singular contests before the gods.
That tradition did not carry over to the present.
Now, NBC, which will be covering the games for the United States, is sending its staff to Sochi, Russia, fully prepared to cover gay and lesbian issues as well as a possible terrorist attack.
Other nations have warned their athletes of the dangers of terrorists and several nations have restricted their athletes from travelling within the country, even before and after the games.
Russia, like the United States, has a problem with terrorism. Islamic Chechen rebels have repeated attacked targets in Russia on several occasions. On at least one occasion, that target was an elementary school.
Terrorists naturally want to strike high-profile targets to draw maximum attention to their cause and to inflict maximum pain on their adversaries. Terrorists strikes are notoriously indiscriminate.
Unlike terrorism, gays and lesbians are already a guaranteed spectacle at the games. Fortunately, they will not be out to hurt people, just to promote their political agenda, for better or worse. Certainly, people should not be imprisoned on the basis of their orientation, or private choices, so the mass boycott of the games by those who disagree with Russian law is understandable.
However, most Americans are unconcerned about homosexual practices in Russia and are mostly concerned with the safety of the athletes and the representation of the States by the same.
Most Americans are expected to tune into the games, although at least a few will be watching warily, for reasons that have less to do with sports and more with danger.
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